We’re back with another editing tutorial of a cell phone image. Before we look at the original and edited image, I want to take a moment to discuss the cell phone camera. What’s not important is the specific phone that you have…iPhone or Android, if it’s less than 3 or 4 years old, it’s a fine cell phone camera. I’ve taken great shots with too many different devices to believe that one is significantly better than the other.
What is important, is that you understand the advantages as well as the limitations of your phone. It’s greatest advantage of all is that it’s the camera that is always with you. It’s greatest disadvantages are the smallness of the lens and its lack of any lens hood (providing protection from glare…even glare from a white cloudy sky or the reflection of a brightly colored nearby building). The glare issue (giving your image an overall washed out look) can be cured by simply using your free hand to create a shield, or shading, over the top of your phone.
As far as the smallness of the lens is concerned, this can create distortion or perspective issues, particularly when taking more of a close-up shot. What that means is if you are photographing a child sitting in a chair, and that child’s feet are pointing straight out towards the camera (making them closer to the lens than is their face, it’s going to make their feet look noticeably larger than they really are. One solution is to have the child sit with legs crossed (criss-cross-applesauce). Now the knees are closer to the lens than is the body/face, but not as significantly different as with the feet sticking straight out.
What I chose to do, to completely remove any distortion/perspective issues, was to have this child get up on her knees, turned sideways, so that everything from her head to her toes are all on a flat plane to me and my cell phone camera lens. To further perfect this flat plane, I got down on my knees to take the shot so that the camera/phone could be held in a perfectly vertical position when the shot was taken (on the same level as the subject). If I had been standing up when I took this, being taller than the sitting girl, I would have had to tilt the phone (and its lens) downwards, creating a distortion/perspective problem.
Here’s the before image, meaning just as it was shot by the phones camera. It’s not bad at all, but a minute of editing can make a not bad shot turn into something truly beautiful.
And the after image, cropped and edited on my phone using Snapseed (a free app for Android and iPhone). WOW…what a change! This now looks like something you could print and hang on the wall.
This edit would normally take about 1 to 2 minutes to complete. The tutorial video below is a few minutes longer because I was explaining what I was doing. I apologize for the vertical format of the video, but it’s the only way can figure out how to video record whats actually happening on my phone’s screen.